Modernizing the Electrical Grid Part 3: Navigating Technology Options
June 23, 2020
As discussed in earlier blog posts, modernizing an electrical grid involves a number of critical phases, from building a project roadmap to laying out the infrastructure to selecting system requirements.
One of the most challenging aspects of completing the project design is navigating the wide range of ever-changing technology options available today and determining the most qualified vendor to provide it.
Many utilities face two problems when it comes to this phase of their modernization efforts:
1. Choosing from the vast array of available options; and
2. Selecting technology that will anticipate tomorrow’s changes, such as higher customer expectations for reliability and cost savings or new innovations in electrical generation and distribution.
For example, while we see an increase of electric vehicle charging stations popping up throughout the country, what type of technology will be needed when one day, electric vehicle penetration levels throughout the country are so high that charging stations will be prevalent throughout cities, businesses, homes, and roadside rest stops?
Having the foresight to anticipate change is at the very heart of modernizing an electrical grid – to prolong its effectiveness well into the future. Therefore, choosing the right technology now is absolutely critical as part of the planning process.
The technology selection process involves a number of critical decisions that must be made to complete the overall design and prepare for the installation phase. Some of these specific decisions include:
- Compatibility with existing Substation and distribution protection and control design;
- Substation and distribution equipment;
- Determine if substation and distribution communication and network systems currently in place are sufficient or new systems are required;
- Integration with an advanced distribution management systems (ADMS) or Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems deployment;
- Pilot program and testing feasibility;
- Product security;
- Data housing location options;
- Vendor/manufacturer relationship; and
- Overall project cost
Based on these decisions, which will in turn, help the planning team narrow down the types of technology available to them, specifications can be developed to allow for the selection process to begin.
To better understand how to select technology for your electrical grid modernization program, tap the expertise of Ulteig’s power generation and distribution experts. By selecting the right technology, utilities can greatly improve system reliability, reduce grid costs, and maximize energy use while being prepared for changes that will arise in the future. Ulteig delivers comprehensive design engineering, program management and technical and field services that strengthen infrastructure vital to everyday life.
By Josh Guck, Grid Modernization Lead
Josh Guck brings nearly a decade of distribution engineering experience to Ulteig’s Power and Renewables markets. As the company’s Grid Modernization lead, he supports clients throughout the U.S. in developing innovative solutions to help navigate the fast-paced changes occurring in our industry.